Pediatric self-medication use in Rwanda – a cross sectional study|
Ukwishaka, Joyeuse; Umuhoza, Christian; Cartledge, Peter & McCall, Natalie
Background: Self-medication, a worldwide practice, has both benefits and risks. Many countries have regulated non-prescription
medications available for use in self-medication. However, in countries such as Rwanda, where prescriptions are not
required to purchase medications, prescription, non-prescription and traditional medications have been used for self-medication.
Objectives: To determine the reported self-medication use in Rwanda and to determine attitudes and reasons associated
with parental decisions to self-medicate their children.
Methods: A cross-sectional multi-center questionnaire based quantitative study of 154 parents/caregivers of children under
ten years undertaken in private and public health facilities.
Results: The use of self-medication was reported to be 77.9%. Among these parents/caregivers, 50.8% used modern
self-medication only, 15.8% used traditional self-medication only and 33.3% used both types of self-medication. Paracetamol
was the most commonly used drug in modern self-medication; the traditional drugs used were Rwandan local herbs.
Parents/caregivers who used modern medicines had slightly more confidence in self-medication than self-medication users
of traditional medicines (p=0.005). Parents/caregivers who used modern self-medication reported barriers to consultation
as a reason to self-medicate more frequently than those who used traditional drugs. Having more than one child below
10 years of-age was the only socio-demographic factor associated with having used self-medication (AOR=4.74, CI: 1.94-11.58, p=0.001). Being above 30 years (AOR= 5.78, CI: 1.25-26.68, p=0.025) and living in Kigali (AOR=8.2, CI: 1.58-43.12,
p=.0.012) were factors associated with preference of modern self- medication compared to traditional self-medication.
Conclusion: Self-medication is common in Rwanda. Parents/caregivers are involved in this practice regardless of their
Self-medication; medicines; parents; caregivers; children; Nonprescription Drugs; Rwanda.